Turkish museums receive nearly 9 million visitors despite pandemic

Turkish museums and archaeological sites were still visited by more than 8.91 million people in 2020, even as the coronavirus epidemic wreaked havoc on the tourism industry around the world.

Sites play an important role in the protection of cultural heritage, transfer to future generations and the generation of a collective memory.

A total of 204 museums, 142 archaeological sites and 296 private museums hosted history buffs under the auspices of the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism, which provided the data.

More than 3.25 million historical artefacts are on display in 204 museums.

An average of 40,000 artefacts have been added to museum collections each year and 11,632 movable cultural objects have been placed in conservation.

To prepare museums for the 2021 tourist season and better serve local and international tourists, the competent authorities have carried out various maintenance activities such as renovations, landscaping, labeling and organization of exhibitions.

As part of the efforts to increase the number of museums in Turkey, 161 museums were renovated between 2002-2020 and 43 with international recognition were opened.

In addition, 16 newly built museums – notably in the provinces of Adana, U, ak, Kayseri, Mersin and Van – now welcome visitors.

The epidemic does not slow down the inauguration of the museum

Turkey is home to several private museums featuring archeology, ethnography, and fine arts, and more and more have been opened in recent years. There are 296 private museums as of April 2021 and the collectors museums number 1,586.

Although the coronavirus pandemic has caused unrest around the world, 26 private museums were opened last year, the highest figure on record in Turkey.

Museums and archaeological sites welcomed more than 35 million local and foreign tourists in 2019 while nearly 9 million people visited in 2020 despite the pandemic.

On March 25, 2020, 3D models of museums and archaeological sites were exhibited online for free via www.sanalmuze.gov.tr, and 12,529,246 people visited virtual museums.

Virtual museums include Göbeklitepe, the Museum of Troy, the Museum of the War of Independence, Ephesus and the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations.

Nadir Alpaslan, Deputy Minister of Culture and Tourism, said museums are places where science and the arts, as well as subterranean riches, are exhibited, which also shed light on historical periods and help individuals to learn more about the past.

Emphasizing that the Ministry of Culture and Tourism has made efforts to bring Turkish museums to higher standards, Alpaslan said that Turkey is home to unique cultural assets and the ministry is doing its best to protect, preserve and make its elements known.

He noted that a “visitor administration plan” has been prepared by the ministry as part of the coronavirus outbreak measures, and social distancing has been enacted in museums while hygiene measures were strictly followed.

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